#ProposingWhileBlack: Couple Says They Had Proposal Interrupted by Security Guards Who Accused Them of Stealing

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If this New York couple’s story is true (it’s totally true because you already know we can’t have anything nice), then add proposing in a scenic location to the list of things we can’t do while black.

According to NBC News, on Sunday, Cathy-Marie Hamlet said her now-fiancé, Clyde Jackson, left New York City to head to Walden, N.Y., to celebrate Jackson’s birthday at the Angry Orchard farm. What Hamlet didn’t know was that Jackson had planned on proposing and what she really didn’t know was that some overzealous and possibly racial-profiling security guards were going to try their damnedest to fuck it all up.

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In a lengthy Facebook post, Hamlet explained that shortly after arriving at the farm, the couple sat at a table near the orchard’s gift shop. A female security guard walked over and accused Jackson of stealing a t-shirt. She also asked to check his back pocket because of course, a t-shirt could fit in a back pocket. (To be fair, this t-shirt could’ve been a half shirt with no sleeves and no collar and it could’ve been made to fit the world’s smallest stuffed animal.)

Instead of telling the woman to fuck off, Jackson obliged.

“My boyfriend then emptied all of his pockets, while still trying to keep the ring box hidden from my sight,” Hamlet told NBC News. “She then walked away, and my boyfriend and I sat down at the table and he began his proposal speech.”

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This woman, this guarder of infant-sized half shirts for stuffed animals, just wouldn’t let it die.

“She came back over to us and said, ‘Now I need to search your purse,’” Hamlet said. “My bag was small and I couldn’t have fit a T-shirt in it, but I emptied the contents of my purse anyway.”

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Hamlet, now realizing that these interruptions had gone from being a nuisance to possibly something a bit more sinister asked the woman why she kept asking them about a missing stuffed-animal thot shirt.

“I told her that I knew she was just doing her job, but I couldn’t help but wonder if she kept coming up to us because we’re black,” Hamlet said. “We were the only black people there, besides three of the friends who came along with us.”

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The security guarder of the smallest shirts sold at the orchard denied approaching them because they were black and returned to the store.

Finally, with the security guard away from them, Jackson was able to propose and Hamlet accepted. All of their friends began celebrating.

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And then, the security guard returned.

“She said, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were all part of the same party. I have to check all of your purses and pockets,’” Hamlet said. “At this point, five other security guards came over.

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“I felt humiliated, especially after one of my white friends made a point of asking them to check her bag for the T-shirt, but they refused to do so,” Hamlet said.

So let’s take a step back, shall we, just to process everything that has happened:

Black couple and friends drive out to an orchard for a day of fun and surprise proposal. White security guard believes that they have stolen a t-shirt, which must be so small that it could fit in a man’s back pocket or a woman’s tiny purse. After proving that they didn’t have the t-shirt, the white security officer won’t let it go and then approaches with a crew to ask that the guests of the couple also be searched except for the white friend because...well...Trump’s America (“Trump’s America” is the phrase I use when I can’t explain something that feels really racist but I don’t want to go to writer jail for calling someone racist when I don’t know if they are, in fact, racist.)

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Feels mad racist-y.

NBC News notes that one security guard told another to call their cousins, aka the police, and that’s when Hamlet knew that they needed to get out of there and not because they stole a baby-sized tube top but because the police were coming and we all know how that could end.

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“It started to get confrontational and I wasn’t interested in waiting around for the police because we didn’t know what would happen,” Hamlet told NBC News.

Hamlet added that the security guards took photos of the group and their license plates because the toddler dickie was made of Gucci diamonds soaked in Yves Saint Laurent caviar, unicorn fur and ancient fairy tears.

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Taylor Roy, a senior communications specialist at Boston Beer Company, which owns Angry Orchards, told NBC News that they reached out to the couple “to try to make things right and prevent something like this from happening again.”

Roy said that although the interaction was “based on what the security guards thought was a credible claim, it was mishandled,” and the company will be conducting additional training for its staff.

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And this is where a white woman’s word means more than an empty back pocket and a purse too small to house a t-shirt. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if the guard went to her bosses and argued that the couple were magicians.

Hamlet left the orchard crying, and not because she was engaged.

“If you don’t want black people buying your product or frequenting your establishment, then maybe put a sign on the door so that we know we are not welcome,” she wrote directly to the orchard in her Facebook missive. “I love hard cider, but Angry Orchard will never touch these lips again.”

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Hamlet said what was supposed to be a joyous occasion was ruined.

“I feel confused and conflicted over what to do now and how to move forward, that one of the happiest moments of my life could be partially overshadowed like this,” Hamlet told NBC News. “It’s sad that in 2019 we still need to have these conversations.”

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About the author

Stephen A. Crockett Jr.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.